I hope that for most of you Thanksgiving has been an occasion to gather with friends and families sharing good food and conversation.

My job was to bring the macaroni and cheese, which is the only thing my son looks forward to eating during the holidays. If you are like me, though, some beloved faces were missing at the table this year. And maybe, like me, you can trace your love of plants through those relatives along the roots of your family tree.

The house I grew up in had a large picture window. My mother kept that window completely filled with plants. Her mother also loved plants, all likely because my great grandfather was a skilled gardener. One of my weekly chores was to water all of my mother’s plants. I don’t recall having much interest in those plants at the time. Still, I remember I preferred watering to my other chore- dusting. And many years later, when my family moved to South Carolina, my mother brought special plants with her, including my great grandfather’s lemon tree.

One of my first calls as an agent was from a client who needed some help with a houseplant she had inherited from a loved one. I identified the plant as dieffenbachia and provided some care instructions. The plant had overgrown its location and needed some pruning. The client was thrilled to learn that she could also propagate new plants from the cut cane and share those with other family members. Thankfully the plant was healthy, and it wasn’t an SOS call.

It can certainly be disheartening when a plant with sentimental value is struggling or dies. The important thing to remember is that the real legacy or gift our loved ones leave is their unique passions and characteristics. A spark of interest in gardening is a wonderful thing to pass down to the next generation. When you subsequently engage in that activity that your loved one treasured, it brings a feeling of connection. For instance, I didn’t keep my great grandfather’s lemon tree when we moved my mother to Greenwood.

There was a lot to move, and it just didn’t make the cut. But I don’t need those exact roots and leaves from that precise plant to feel connected to his legacy. I know he would get a kick out of the work I do today.

I hope this article has brought to mind your favorite phytophile (plant lover). Don’t despair if you didn’t get the opportunity to glean their wisdom or if you feel you haven’t inherited a green thumb. Start small, use the resources on Clemson’s HGIC website, and remember that experience is a wonderful teacher.

The Piedmont Technical College Horticulture Program’s poinsettia sale will run Dec. 3-4 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day at the greenhouse located at 720 S. Emerald Road. The 2022 Master Gardener Volunteer Training Class is now accepting applicants. Contact our office for details. Visit the online calendar here to register for extension events and classes: calendar.clemson.edu/.

Our office is collecting donations of travel-sized toiletries to assemble kits for children in the care of DSS. Donations will be accepted until December 6th at noon.

Our offices are closed Dec. 24-31 for the holidays. Contact me at stepht@clemson.edu or 864-889-0541. The Greenwood County Extension office at 105 N. University St. is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Call the office at 864-223-3264 for assistance via phone. For your convenience, soil samples may be left in the dropbox outside of normal business hours at the office entrance. Visit our Facebook page, facebook.com/GreenwoodCoExtension, where we post timely information.

Stephanie Turner is the Greenwood County horticulture agent for Clemson Cooperative Extension.

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